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Researcher Finds No Link Between Violent Games and School Shootings

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the and-i'll-stab-anyone-who-disagrees dept.

United States 116

GamePolitics writes "A researcher at Texas A&M International University has found no link between playing violent video games and school shootings. Prof. Christopher Ferguson cites 'moral panic' and criticizes politicians, the news media and some social scientists for playing up what he believes is a false connection between video games and school shooting incidents. Quoting: 'Actual causes of violent crime, such as family environment, genetics, poverty, and inequality, are oftentimes difficult, controversial, and intractable problems. By contrast, video games present something of a "straw man" by which politicians can create an appearance of taking action against crime.'"

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....and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26557007)

Wow, something every person who plays games already knows. You don't go shoot people because a game tells you to. Any sane person knows that is wrong. Only a person who has serious mental issues commit crimes like that.

But of course people see violent video games and instantly accuse them. Scapegoat anyone?

"...And?" Indeed. (3, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557151)

Wow, something every person who plays games already knows.

Well, I was thinking the same thing, except from the opposite direction. I'm was kind of skeptical about how he might have showed no link given the small sample group of school shooters and the difficulty in finding actual video game links, but there's really nothing of the sort here. He's largely just criticizing the methodology (or complete lack thereof) of most people howling about the link between video games and school shootings.

He's basically doing little more than pointing out the obvious, but not really proving his own point. It's very much a, "Here's some common sense, here's where most of the people talking about the supposed connection betray their ignorance, and here's some outrage and politics too" kind of article. Less science than editorial. (One with a decent point mind you, but let's not pretend this is proof of the opposite. He's just calling "BS.")

Sometimes that's enough (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557687)

And technically, since we're talking science, that's enough disproof. The burden of proof lies on the one who claims to have a proof. Pointing out the holes in his proof is disproof enough. You don't have to prove the opposite, which sometimes is even impossible or unfeasible.

E.g., if I claim to have proof that extraterrestrials live among us in disguise, it's up to me to prove that, not up to you to prove that all 6 billion humans on Earth were born on Earth. The latter would be unreasonably hard a "proof" to do, and frankly it's not your burden to do. (Much as various nuts and fanatics like to pretend that it's your job to prove them wrong, and they're right if you don't.) But if you can find big enough holes in my data or methodology, that's actually disproof enough.

Ditto for games. It's very hard to prove, especially for someone who's already dead, that games absolutely didn't have an influence on him. You can't resurrect him and haul him to a shrink. Now picture doing that for a few hundreds of people. It's unreasonable, and, again, it's frankly not your burden of proof. The ones who claim that the link between games and violence exist, and even use it as a true premise to base further rationale on (e.g., that therefore this or that legislation is needed), those have to first prove it. If you can poke holes in their proof, that's disproof enough.

So to summarize it, the answer to your "let's not pretend this is proof of the opposite" is: he doesn't have to prove the opposite in the first place.

In the end, probably what we actually need is actually less people getting suck(er)ed into the game of accepting that they have to prove the opposite, and more people who just call BS until the ones making the claim presented a good enough proof. Once you accept the burden of proving the opposite, essentially you've accepted that unless you can do the unreasonable !X proof, the bullshitter is right. That's already playing their game. They just need to be slapped silly with the notion of who has to prove what, and that an unproven claim is null and void and not to be taken any more seriously than opinionated gossip overheard on a plane.

Re:Sometimes that's enough (1)

DavoMan (759653) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558185)

They just need to be slapped silly with the notion of who has to prove what, and that an unproven claim is null and void and not to be taken any more seriously than opinionated gossip overheard on a plane.

Absolutely brilliant post. Dead on the mark.

Re:Sometimes that's enough (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558785)

I appreciate the point you are trying to make, but the position is overly simplistic compared to the real world.

To give you an example of this consider pharmaceuticals. If I create a new drug that in 99 of my 100 test cases cures cancer should I be allowed to sell it immediately? Or should their be a requirement that I 'prove' it isn't dangerous with further medical trials?

In the above case I have 'proven' to some degree that it works, and there is no proof it is dangerous and "since we're talking science, that's enough disproof".

I have no intention of comparing the two matters; I just don't think your point has a lot of meaning in this situation.

Re:Sometimes that's enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558951)

Or should their be a requirement that I 'prove' it isn't dangerous with further medical trials?

Most likely your 99% success rate with a small sample group would prove that it works, but you would then go on to a large double-blind trial to prove that the drug itself works and not perhaps something that was in the water at the time you produced the drug, or the placebo effect, or some other cause.

At that point is where reality begins to diverge: normally your studies would be sufficient to demonstrate that the drug isn't harmful (how many of your 100 people died?). The problem is when companies redact that part of their studies, for instance to cover up cardiac issues in patients taking Vioxx for the VIGOR study.

Even if the 100th person died, it might still be judged an acceptable risk, and by knowing about the risk that risk might even be mitigated (eg, telling a patient on Vioxx that the pain in their chest isn't heartburn, or determining risk factors for these side effects and not prescribing the drug to patients with significant risk factors)

I see no fundamental problem there (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559075)

I see no fundamental problem there. Essentially you're legally required to make a claim that your medicine (A) works better than placebo, and (B) you know and disclose the risks and potential side effects. And you're required to prove it.

The requirement part comes from having such bad experiences as someone selling sulpha dilluted in ethylene glycol... which is a very deadly poison, and actually killed everyone who took that medicine. In excruciating pain, over a couple of weeks. So now if you don't or can't make and prove those claims, you're not allowed to market that medicine. Or not as medicine.

But that's largely a legal construct, and has nothing to do with how logic works or how burden of proof works. We as a society decided that you _must_ make and prove that kind of claims.

But burden of proof even there works the old fashioned way. _You_ must prove it. It doesn't work like "it's good medicine unless someone else can prove otherwise."

Re:I see no fundamental problem there (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559195)

But that's largely a legal construct, and has nothing to do with how logic works or how burden of proof works. We as a society decided that you _must_ make and prove that kind of claims.

So if society decides you need to prove that your new media immersive experiences do not cause people to go on shooting sprees, that's exactly what you need to do (for some close statistical approximation of "proof").

The "burden of proof" does not exist in isolation of the risks and benefits involved -- which are for people, not logic, to decide.

Re:I see no fundamental problem there (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26561963)

1. Yes, it is entirely within the society's rights to decide that it requires certain standards of proof that your game doesn't cause people to run amok.

But even there it would first need to figure out such an impartial double-blind test, that's possible to pass. For medicine we have it. I don't think any of the "OMG, games turn people psycho" crowd actually made even a valid correlation, much less a scientific test there.

2. In medicine's case the FDA first had to make its own claim, and prove it, namely that the existing unchecked medicine can kill people. The idiot who sold a solution of sulpha in ethylene glycol, essentially made that case and proof for them. Somebody had sold a medicine which didn't just sometimes not work, and didn't just sometimes kill its patients. It killed _every_ single person who took it.

You're free to try to disprove their claim too, but they have a bullet-proof documentation of everyone who bought that medicine and died, and what are the biological effects of ethylene glycol.

Before the state could make that claim and proof, there was no reason to let them pass new legislation. As long as the "but someone could sell medicine which kills people" proof hadn't been made, we all just defaulted to the existing idea, namely, "nah, mate, the free market will solve everything, because nobody would risk the massive PR loss of face of selling poison as medicine."

So even there there was an implicit burden of proof on the FDA and generally those wanting more legislation.

It seems to me like it's not unreasonable to expect the same kind of burden of proof on those wanting to regulate games. As long as they don't make a reasonable proof that games do kill (e.g., by turning some people into amok psychos), we can and should tell them to take a fucking hike. Just like everyone did with the FDA before that incident.

Re:I see no fundamental problem there (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564357)

The idiot who sold a solution of sulpha in ethylene glycol, essentially made that case and proof for them. Somebody had sold a medicine which didn't just sometimes not work, and didn't just sometimes kill its patients. It killed _every_ single person who took it.

Obligatory Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sometimes that's enough (2, Insightful)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559003)

Your point is mostly correct. However, the author merely pointed out flaws in methodology. That means that the findings showing a link between violent games and school shooting might not be true (but it does not rule them out). Pointing out methodological flaws is not disproof. You have to conduct a more methodologically correct study that supports the null hypothesis of no correlation. That would "disprove" the point. This author did not do that; he wrote a review article.

I just read the original research article. The author provides the caveat that there is fair evidence that there is a small causal link between violent video games and aggression. He stated that there really is no good evidence to support a causal link between violent video games and school shootings - a very small population because there are not many school shooters.

However, in the end, the author believes that much of this focus on violent video games and school shootings is just hype.

I have to add though that there is indisputable evidence (replicated many times in many settings and many ways) showing a link between viewing violent acts and subsequently performing violent acts. To deny that violent media (movies, games, etc.) does not affect someone negatively is naive. On the other hand, to say that violent video games causes school shootings and other criminal violence is premature.

effect size (2, Insightful)

anonymousJUGGERNAUT (909643) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559729)

How many people play violent video games? How many school shootings have happened? There is a very, very low ceiling on the possible effect size there. Even if video games were a causal factor in 100% of school shootings, it's still the case that in 99.999etc.% of cases, video games do not cause people to shoot up their schools.

Re:effect size (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559857)

I agree. I play violent video games all the time (I just finished playing TF2). I just think that here on /. we are so biased in favor of video games (e.g., I play violent video games and I haven't killed or shot or even hit anyone) that that bias leads to a bit of myopia. I just think we should have moderation in the violence that's in games or other media and consume it in moderation.

Re:effect size (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560003)

I don't know about that... I play guild wars, and I'm training my calico cat to attack on command... just having a little trouble figuring out how to get us both +1 health regeneration and 33% faster attack speed...

Re:Sometimes that's enough (2, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560247)

No, a logical argument in science does not constitute disproof. While it's fair to say the burden of proof is on the claimant, not being able to prove a claim doesn't prove the inverse.

As GP points out, any kind of statistical correlation with school shootings will be very difficult, due to the rarity of shootings. I think we all know there's no direct effect -- in no case was the shooting an immediate, direct result of the video game. The researcher points out that no studies are able to show a video game-shooting correlation, that there is no logical reason to think video games are a cause, and that there are good logical (sociological) explanations for why video games are blamed despite not being the cause. Taken together, this is very good motivation to think "video games are not a contributing factor to school shootings" until proven otherwise.

It's just that that's not the same as scientific proof.

Re:Sometimes that's enough (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26561875)

Given that, I'll present myself as the hole in the "violent games cause realworld violence" theory.

When I am supremely angry and sincerely wish to kill someone (and we've all been there!) the best thing I can do to cool down is ... fire up DOOM and slaughter a few thousand innocent hellspawn. After a couple hours of that, I'm relaxed and no longer angry. Great therapy!

Of course, the conclusion the moralists would draw is that violent people should go to hell, where they can freely indulge their violent tendencies ;)

Re:Sometimes that's enough (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26567775)

Personally, I liked Doom with the 'Barney mod'. I'd fire it up, click on God mode, then teleport to Level 32 and chainsaw Barney for a few hours. Worked like a champ.

Blame me? (1)

daath93 (1356187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557047)

But if we can't blame the video games...someone is going to blame my parenting skills! Next they will want me actually monitoring my kids to insure they don't see boobies on the interwebs instead of banning them from the sites! Oy I'm late...

Re:Blame me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26557121)

*ensure != insure.

Re:Blame me? (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558085)

But if we can't blame the video games...someone is going to blame my parenting skills!

Don't worry, you can just blame it on your parents, and they on theirs, and so on. The real culprit is Adam or amoeba, whichever you prefer.

Or you could blame the little psycho who pulled the trigger.

Re:Blame me? (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559215)

Why stop at amoeba? It's the laws of physics which cause me to behave selfishly :)

Video games don't have a monopoly on violence. (5, Insightful)

Shaitan Apistos (1104613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557069)

Why is it just video games that are subject to all this scrutiny? Board games cause violence too.

My sister was perfectly capable of flying into a murderous rage if someone else purchased Boardwalk or Park Place in a game of Monopoly when we were kids.

Re:Video games don't have a monopoly on violence. (3, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557189)

Why is it just video games that are subject to all this scrutiny?

Video games are subject to this scrutiny for two reasons:

1) There was once a study along time ago showing that kids exposed to aggressive TV acted out aggressively afterward. A host of studies since then have alleged the same effect from video games. Studies have supported and refuted both ideas, and people have also called into question the link between aggressive play behavior and real world aggression. Unfortunately, a lot of the research and reporting on the research on both sides seems to be heavily tainted by preconceived bias.

2) Video games are a form of recreational media enjoyed by a substantial number of youths today, and they are often avoided by excessive moralists, who tend not to "get" what "the kids" are into. We did the same thing with rock & roll, rap music, tabletop gaming, etc.

It's one half politicized science and one half culture war.

Board games cause violence too.

My sister was perfectly capable of flying into a murderous rage if someone else purchased Boardwalk or Park Place in a game of Monopoly when we were kids.

Oh, pfft. You know there's a difference between something that is alleged to provoke violence and something which is just fought over. Let's not be silly.

Like Dodgeball? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557979)

Seems like an obvious candidate to me. I mean, you're taught to *throw* something at someone, with the intention of hitting them "out."

Anyone up for a round of Lawn Darts Dodgeball?

Re:Video games don't have a monopoly on violence. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558351)

You may joke, but there were similar scaremongering campains concerning D&D & Warhammer FRP back in the 80s. Before that, it was heavy metal music.

There are some people who can always find something to get outraged about.

Re:Video games don't have a monopoly on violence. (1)

Garganus (890454) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558527)

Your point is well taken. It does make me wonder though, if we imagine an scale of immersion into violence; from talking about irl genocide at the water cooler, to really getting into singing along with a heavy metal song about all the killing in war, to reading a violent spy book, to D n D, to watching violent movies, to playing today's most immersive and violent games (to playing them in 3D?); I do see that this scale has a top and that we're crawling toward utterly-convincing, but still not real, violent experiences. I hate video game legislation as much as the next guy, but frankly, I pause at the thought of tomorrow's kids who'll go to school with the kid with no parenting and easy access to purchase "Stabby McGee; Reign of the High School Shank-Master III" to go on an utterly-realistic random stabbing-spree, in a school, for four hours a night.

Of course the other half of me is screaming all of those concerns are idiotic, that his inability to handle a video game is, in fact, the parents fault and that by the time immersion like that is possible, it will be just like books and today's video games--easily separated from reality.

Re:Video games don't have a monopoly on violence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558699)

I pause at the thought of tomorrow's kids who'll go to school with the kid with no parenting and easy access to purchase "Stabby McGee; Reign of the High School Shank-Master III" to go on an utterly-realistic random stabbing-spree, in a school, for four hours a night.

Then the fault is with the kid's guardian, not video games.

Re:Video games don't have a monopoly on violence. (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560035)

Card games cause violence too. My coworker got me into the Nuclear War Card Game [flyingbuffalo.com] and now I keep a stockpile of ICBMs just in case. Come to think of it, my neighbor has been blocking us in with the way they park their car. *pushes button*

Wrong time to release study. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557081)

Recession is on.

Politicians don't have idle time to persecute random innocent everyday activities anymore.

Should have sat on it until the economy was well into recovery territory.

Re:Wrong time to release study. (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557531)

Nope this is the perfect time. Since we're in a down turn, it's the perfect time to start slapping away at innocent activities in order to protect people as fear sets in.

Sudden (3, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557089)

Sudden outbreak of ... he'll be completely ignored.

Let's face it, saying "The new shiny thing that you barely know anything about, is the true responsible for all the evils" will always work better for the news than "There's just about the same percentage of bad people as always, nothing to see here, move along."

Re:Sudden (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562449)

Also, rational arguments hold little sway in public discussion of issues relating to children. In fact, trying to bring up studies and hard data that go against the popular views will get you branded a cold-hearted ivory-tower academic. Few parents are willing to listen to research if it contradicts "what their hearts tell them".

Video games don't incite violence (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557145)

Monopoly is the closest thing to domestic violence between siblings you can get.
Totopoly just makes you want to throw the game board at the wall out of sheer fucking boredom.
Then we have the game of Whack-a-mole played with people with absolutely no hand-eye co-ordination.
Golf involves swinging metal clubs in a wide swiping motion.
Tennis requires the constant violence against a small furry ball which PETA could easily say represents a small mammal.
Cricket is self inflicted pain, there is a *wrong* way to catch that damn hard ball.
And they're all non-contact sports, don't get me started on Rugby.

Re:Video games don't incite violence (2, Funny)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557203)

a small furry ball which PETA could easily say represents a small mammal.

Actually, they want you to start calling them "court kittens" cause no one wants to hit a kitten.

Re:Video games don't incite violence (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557315)

don't laugh. [peta2.com]

Re:Video games don't incite violence (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557327)

Hence the veiled reference.

I could take environmental responsibility when it was things like "reduce, reuse, recycle" but I cant take them seriously any more, they are just a bunch of nut cases these days. Sea Kittens my arse.

Re:Video games don't incite violence (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26561945)

And this is why the "moderate-sounding" outfits like HSUS are so much more dangerous than the lunatic fringes: HSUS has exactly the same goals as PETA, but HSUS has learned diplomacy. So while PETA tries to make kids think of fish as "sea kittens" and everyone laughs at the absurdity, HSUS quietly gets fish farming outlawed.

(Don't think so? Check out the recently passed CA Prop 2, which outlaws modern egg production.)

We needed a researcher for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26557159)

Everyone already knows the truth, but it's easier to have something to blame when things go wrong. See: God, Video games, Cartoon porn.

Weaklings can't take responsibility or direct their attention towards better targets like humans, parenting and child predators.

It's all about finding a good excuse rather than doing something useful.

No stupid, it's child porn that causes violence (3, Funny)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557403)

So we need to stop selling cameras.

Re:No stupid, it's child porn that causes violence (1)

matazar (1104563) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558459)

I thought it was music that caused school shootings?
Games cause all other violent behaviour.

They should keep their stories straight.

What about the easy availability of guns ? (1, Flamebait)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557545)

In the UK guns are not as easy to get hold of as in the USA. We don't have school shootings.

Spot the correlation.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26557611)

Yeah, the UK is just squeaky clean isn't it? http://www.medicine.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/stabbings [manchester.ac.uk]

Seriously, just because a gun isn't available doesn't mean people won't commit violent crime.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558383)

No, but it certainly means the crime is a lot less deadly.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558663)

tell that to the bloke that i just shivved

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (0, Troll)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26561519)

No, but it certainly means the crime is a lot less deadly.

Not really. Availability of guns in a society does not seem to correlate with the number of violent deaths and murders. Maybe this is because people don't fight back if the mugger has a gun or maybe more muggers actually attack a victim from behind injuring or killing them rather than just threatening with a gun. Or maybe more people are able to defend themselves and escape without injury because they have a gun themselves. In some places where guns are rare, drive by attacks use pipe bombs and molotov cocktails resulting in the injury and death of more bystanders than in places where guns are used for the same crimes.

In short, what you assume is obvious has not been supported by any factual information I've ever seen.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#26561829)

In short, you aren't presenting any factual information either. You might get all your "facts" from the NRA. If we are talking about these attacks on school campuses, I think it is fairly obvious that if the killers didn't have guns, they would be a lot less effective. There will always be violent crimes. And you can pick and choose what countries you want to talk about to make the statistics look like guns make things more safe or less safe. But I think what the OP says is true. Restrict people from having guns, school attacks will be less deadly. I'm not saying ban guns, I am just stating something. But the guns rights advocates can't have rational discussions. It is their religion.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (0, Flamebait)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562267)

In short, you aren't presenting any factual information either.

I've read quite a few papers, but it doesn't matter because I'm not the one making an assertion.

If we are talking about these attacks on school campuses, I think it is fairly obvious that if the killers didn't have guns, they would be a lot less effective.

You think that is obvious? You don't think poison or a big bomb might be a lot more effective? I'd argue that largely untrained children with guns are a lot less effective than other techniques they could turn to or at the very least you need to provide some data if you want me to accept this hypothesis.

And you can pick and choose what countries you want to talk about to make the statistics look like guns make things more safe or less safe.

Pick and choose? If you can pick different countries with completely different rates of violence and gun ownership that proves my point. There is no strong correlation between the two factors. Restricting the sample set to just the US and UK without normalizing for all other correlative factors and claiming you can draw conclusions based upon that is the error.

But I think what the OP says is true. Restrict people from having guns, school attacks will be less deadly.

Okay, you think that. Why do you think that? Do you have any information or is it just based upon emotion? Do you have any actual studies to back up your hypothesis or is it completely untested?

I'm not saying ban guns, I am just stating something.

No, you and the previous poster are asserting something, but have presented no evidence to back up your assertion except one implied causation that does not hold up when you look at a sample set of any size.

But the guns rights advocates can't have rational discussions. It is their religion.

This is a strawman. Please wait until others make an irrational argument and then feel free to point it out. In the mean time, why not reply to my rational criticism of your assertions and lack of evidence?

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563139)

You think that is obvious? You don't think poison or a big bomb might be a lot more effective? I'd argue that largely untrained children with guns are a lot less effective than other techniques they could turn to or at the very least you need to provide some data if you want me to accept this hypothesis.

Since when do we not restrict people having large explosives or biological weapons? Just because the GP didn't mention these weapons, you assume that he wants to restrict guns but not restrict explosives. Talk about a fucking straw man, sheesh.

But I think what the OP says is true. Restrict people from having guns, school attacks will be less deadly.

Okay, you think that. Why do you think that? Do you have any information or is it just based upon emotion? Do you have any actual studies to back up your hypothesis or is it completely untested?

Do people need to make a hypothesis for every claim they make? Come on, man. The GP is obviously just using some common sense. If you got attacked by a mugger, would you rather be mugged by an armed person or not? Don't be stupid.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (0, Redundant)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26563685)

You think that is obvious? You don't think poison or a big bomb might be a lot more effective?

Since when do we not restrict people having large explosives or biological weapons?

Since when does poison=biological weapon? We do very little to restrict the purchase of poison because so much of what we use every day is poisonous in the wrong context. As for explosives, any kid who can get ahold of their parent's guns can get instructions for making bombs out of everyday materials. I know I made some as a kid, just for fun.

Just because the GP didn't mention these weapons, you assume that he wants to restrict guns but not restrict explosives.

No, I assumed you didn't want to stupidly try to restrict access to everything starting with guns then moving into knives and swords and sticks and anything heavy and anything toxic, etc., etc. because it a lost cause and dreadfully ineffective for anything other than getting votes if you happen to be a politician that like scaring people.

Talk about a fucking straw man, sheesh.

You don't know what a straw man argument is, do you?

Do people need to make a hypothesis for every claim they make?

No, but that isn't the point. Rational people need support for their beliefs. hypothesis was proposed, however informally. I was simply asking if there was any reason to believe that hypothesis, the on they professed to believe, had any support at all and hence there was any reason for rational people to believe it. If you're irrational that's fine, but it isn't very persuasive.

If you got attacked by a mugger, would you rather be mugged by an armed person or not?

That depends on the mugger. In many cases I would rather they had a gun because they would feel more confident and are less likely to kill me with a violent attack and instead just tell me to give them my wallet and leave. But what I would rather is not really important. What matters is if more people are wrongfully killed or injured if guns are available. We do have data on that subject.

Don't be stupid.

I think I'll "be stupid" and actually believe the data from formal studies rather than just assume your uninformed opinions are right despite you having nothing to back them.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26566155)

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

Murders are about 3 times more common per capita in the US than the UK. This certainly doesn't prove that gun control accounts for the difference, but it does disprove the argument that the Brits kill people just as much as the Americans, only with different weapons.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (4, Informative)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557649)

Well, although nobody in the UK has shot up a school since the Dublane Massacre [wikipedia.org], that doesn't mean that mass murders at schools in the UK have ceased. They just use other [bbc.co.uk] weapons [wikipedia.org] now (improvised flame thrower? I have to say I'm impressed). Just goes to prove that people are going to kill people no matter what tools they have to do it with.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (2, Insightful)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557881)

While the basic foundation of your argument is correct (That, when it comes down to it, there are plenty of ways to kill people), the articles you cite do somewhat make the counter-point that access to guns makes it much easier to kill people.

Considering the three cases you've linked, the death toll at Dunblane was 17. The total death toll of the other two (despite the "impressive" flame-thrower) was 0. It's impossible to say if people would definitely have been killed if the men in those cases had access to firearms, but I don't think it's a completely unreasonable assumption to make.

People may try to kill other people all the time - but that doesn't mean we have to make it easy on them.

They are SUICIDES, not merely mass murders (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26561799)

What most people don't seem to recognise is that these "school shootings" (or flame throwers, or whatever) and similar "going postal" events are NOT intended as mass murders.

They are intended as loud, messy SUICIDES, that "show the world how much it hurt me by hurting it back".

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558201)

As fast as your country is goosestepping towards fascism, I wouldn't be too happy about that.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

LazySlacker (212444) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558487)

Goose-stepping, are you mad.

We've formed an orderly queue and are waiting for it to turn up. If anything we are shuffling towards something.

Of course we know what will happen. You wait for one form of authoritarian government to turn up for years and then 3 turn up at once. I would say more Stalinist than Fascist anyway.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26561711)

"Goose-stepping, are you mad.

We've formed an orderly queue and are waiting for it to turn up."

Made me laugh. My co-workers are now even more convinced that I am insane.

With regards to your distinction between Stalinism and Fascism, I've come to believe that there is really little difference aside from aesthetics and what the thugs babble about when beating you to death. My personal preference is for either totalitarian socialism (nationalist and internationalist are both covered) or Marxist-Fascism (makes an opening for conversation on the topic when people look at you dumbly.) Just my two cents, herr comrade.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559299)

Indeed. If only we had guns like in America, we'd be able to keep our government entirely free of corruption!

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559677)

Nice straw-man.

I wasn't talking about corruption. I was talking about the fast-track to an Orwellian society that the UK has been on for the past decade or so.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560305)

Do you honestly think that Bush's administration was any better WRT removal of civil rights?

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26561403)

The administration that is disgraced, out the door & is in the process of having a lot of the bad, illegal things that they pulled in their tenure reversed or revoked?

This isn't about the US. We have the option of removing our government by force if needed. That option has never been played & hopefully will never have to be played. But we still have that option & our government, deep down, knows it.

Either you guys like fascism or your government has stopped listening to you a long, long time ago. No amount of fingerpointing & burning strawmen will change that.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562647)

The administration that is disgraced, out the door & is in the process of having a lot of the bad, illegal things that they pulled in their tenure reversed or revoked?

No, the one that you kept voting in to the incredulity of the rest of the world, whose approval only crashed as a result of an economic house of cards not of its own making, and whose president only left the White House because he had limited tenure from the start?

This isn't about the US.

Um, I think you'll find it is. Check the thread all the way back up to its first ancestor.

We have the option of removing our government by force if needed. That option has never been played & hopefully will never have to be played. But we still have that option & our government, deep down, knows it.

We also have that option -- our weapons are only marginally less effective than those at the government's disposal as yours are (perhaps, indeed, in Britain the relative armaments are in our favour).

Either you guys like fascism or your government has stopped listening to you a long, long time ago. No amount of fingerpointing & burning strawmen will change that.

Just because you've got a decent president at last you're suddenly all high and mighty. But your country is still ruled by corporations.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564217)

"But our countries are still ruled by corporations."

Fixed that for you.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560401)

In the UK guns are not as easy to get hold of as in the USA. We don't have school shootings. Spot the correlation.

In the US wooden clogs are harder to get ahold of as in Europe in general. We don't have clog beatings. Spot the correlation.

Or you could, you know, define the problem sensibly in terms of violent crime or murders at schools. There are countries with higher rates of gun ownership than the UK, but lower rates of violent crime and school murders. What does that imply about the causality of your correlation?

The truth is if you look objectively you can find things that correlate very strongly with violent crime levels and murder rates around the world, and gun ownership and gun control laws are not one of those correlative items. Wealth disparity is the number one correlation and the UK is doing better than the US on that one. Decriminalization of illicit drugs, socialized drug treatment programs, and socialized healthcare in general are also moderately well correlated. But then if you want to understand why you'd have to read a sociology paper and the masses aren't going to do that. It's easier to exploit people's fears about guns to score political points. It's easier to exploit people's fears about not having a gun to score political points. But that's politics not reality. Realistically, gun ownership rates and gun control are not an issue of crime control any more than video games are.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26562171)

You win the "completely invalid comparison" award with that doozy. Shoes - Guns? Come on.

You Southern gunslingers are all alike, I swear.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (0, Troll)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562463)

You win the "completely invalid comparison" award with that doozy. Shoes - Guns? Come on.

Actually it was an example of how logically flawed the idea of anything that reduces "gun violence" is a good thing regardless of the effects upon overall crime and violence rates. Drawing a correlation between the prevalance of one object and the prevalance of that object when crime occurs is pointless and misleading. The absurd idea being that in places where people have more hats or guns, a ban on hats or guns can reduce the rate of hat wearing or gun using criminals and that means anything useful.

You Southern gunslingers are all alike, I swear.

I live in the subarctic, genius.

But you act like a southern redneck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26563705)

And since /. doesn't have a location beacon for posters, you go by what you see.

It would take a SUPERgenius to know where you came from with just your postings to go on.

And criminals still have guns. It's just they target money or opposing criminals, not schoolkids. Whereas if parents had guns, schoolkids have guns and they don't target banks, etc.

So although there ARE guns in the UK, there aren't schoolyard shootings.

Why? Because when you outlaw guns, only outlaws have guns. And they have better things to do than shoot kids in school.

Retard.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (2, Funny)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560795)

Canada does have guns. They don't have school shootings.

Here in Australia we don't have guns (it's neigh impossible to get anything at all these days, believe me I have tried). Per capita, we've had a shitload of people going on killing sprees with guns.

What's this correlation I'm supposed to see? That gaining your independence from England makes you more likely to be a psychopath? Interesting.

Re:What about the easy availability of guns ? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26561299)

Canada does have guns. They don't have school shootings.

Here in Australia we don't have guns (it's neigh impossible to get anything at all these days, believe me I have tried). Per capita, we've had a shitload of people going on killing sprees with guns.

What's this correlation I'm supposed to see? That gaining your independence from England makes you more likely to be a psychopath? Interesting.

There was a rather famous one at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal 20 years ago... (rather sad, too, since the gunman targeted only women - in engineering, nonetheless) http://archives.cbc.ca/society/crime_justice/topics/398/ [archives.cbc.ca]

And enough reports of kids bringing guns to school to have lock downs here in BC.

So yes, Canada does have school shootings, and while the murder rate is small compared to the US, it has taken large leaps lately. Most of the guns come from the US - though there were some cases where the guns were all legally registered, too.

Maybe what Canada doesn't have is a super gun-crazy culture - it's the right that's missing from the Charter...

Bath School Massacre (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557635)

To date the worst school massacre took place in Michigan in 1927. Although it wasn't a student I guarantee it wasn't video games that pushed him over the edge either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster [wikipedia.org]

What do you think would happen today if someone blew up an entire school wing? They'd have tons of scapegoats instead of focusing on the unique circumstances which made the PERSON who was RESPONSIBLE.

So, are "educational" games useless then, too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26557981)

Can't have it both ways.

Psychology is an exact science? (1)

egnop (531002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558131)

Now I'm not gonna say there is or is not a link, I don't know.

But since when have researchers mapped the behaviour of the brain and the way it reacts to certain gaming or television related stuff?

They are just guessing according to the things they have experienced and learned.

Maybe they are asking themselves the wrong questions and making the wrong assumptions.

Just remember that psychology is not really founded upon exact measurements.

Ohhhh wait, it is just a _single_ judgement, made by 1 person, 1 point of view

I lol'd

Genetics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558347)

since when is genetics considered a cause of violent crime?

It was only a matter of time (1)

flintmecha (1134937) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558393)

First it was comic books, then it was rock n' roll, now it's video games. In a few years, it's bound to be something new and people will stop caring about violent games.

Upbringing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558427)

What about factoring background?

My missus works in a playgroup and some of the little freaks she has to deal with, most kids are pretty normal but there are alway one or two who insist on shouting the f-word and c-word at other kids or biting them or boys ordering the girls to dress them or pick things up for them.

If your brought up a certain way by your "guardians", then you will behave like that because at age 4-5 that's the only influences you know. If you are violent by nature due to your upbringing, then certain triggers will work on your whereas most other will not.

One look that that vacuous mouth-breather Paris Hilton and I'm f**king violent!

i would think its the opposite (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558779)

that is, that violent videogames decrease violence in society

media is catharsis. what i mean by that is: what is seen in a movie, or read in a book, or played on a keyboard, is something that is released harmlessly there, and left there. something that would be expressed in the real world otherwise if there were no means for harmless escape

some people may consider me a ittle radical on the subject, but i am serious: more people should play more violent videogames. more people should consume more pornography. the result would be less violence and less trangressive sexual crimes in real life. i think violent offenders should be given access to violent videogames in prison, and given a copy on their release (if ever). i think sexual offenders should be given hardcore pornography. this would teach them how to cope with their urges and manage them without resorting to victimizing real people in the real world

and for those of us who can "self-medicate", and remove the baser urges we recognize in ourselves, and recognize as socially wrong, by releasing them harmlessly on a keyboard or a magazine, then please, by all means, allow us to do that

because the attraction to violent videogames, or sexual media, is really a HEALTHY instinct: its a recognition for the need to have catharsis on certain asocial urges, something the vast majority of us have. although, some people don't have any sexual or violent proclivities about themselves at all, and that's why they look at people who view pornography or violence as tainted somehow, and they see the media as a cause of this taint. this is a false line of reasoning on their part. the media is merely a symptom, not a cause. and much more than a symptom, it is a treatment. it is catharsis

violent or sexual media does not create monsters. we are already, or are already not, monsters to begin with. its just a question of whether we release in real life, in society, or in fantasy, in media-based pursuits

How about a completely different angle? (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559025)

How many people have been going on killing sprees because they said God told them it was a swell idea? Yet nobody discusses outlawing religion, or keeping it away from the feeble minds of small children.

Re:How about a completely different angle? (1)

Number6.2 (71553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26560739)

Mr. Hitchens, is that you?!?

And let's be frank: the Crusades were less of a "killing spree" and more of a semi-organized "pillage and rampine" operation...of which the Church took a cut.

Except for the Children's Crusade. How about that for "think of the Children"...

Re:How about a completely different angle? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26567951)

Huh? I'm not even talking about the Crusades.

Didn't notice it? Someone going out and killing random people, then when he's caught you get to hear that God or Jesus told him it would be great if he went and killed some people, so he went and did just that. Not somewhere in medieval times, right here, right now.

Well, "here" being the US. Funny enough, I can't remember a single incident in Europe. The combination "gun nut" + "religious nut" isn't so popular here.

Re:How about a completely different angle? (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#26562593)

Religions, like guns, are a tool. They can be used for good purposes, or used for bad purposes. Unfortunately, too many people use them for bad purposes these days. But are there enough of these bad people out there to ban them for everyone?

Re:How about a completely different angle? (1)

Rutefoot (1338385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565993)

A handgun is designed to be used for two things.

1) Shooting People

2) Making People think you're going to shoot them

Please, enlighten me how else a handgun can be used as a tool.

Re:How about a completely different angle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26566421)

How many people have been going on killing sprees because they said God told them it was a swell idea? Yet nobody discusses outlawing religion, or keeping it away from the feeble minds of small children.

Today the politbureau of CPUSA decided equivocally that your utter belittleling ignorance is an unbearable affornt towards the ongoing proletarian struggle against the opiate of the masses.

I see both sides (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26559953)

I'm not about to say that everyone who plays violent video games is going to shoot up their school. My shelf has copies of Unreal Tournament, Halo 2, Crysis, Mass Effect, Timeshift, Prey, and several others that most people would consider violent. I'd never, ever shoot up a school; even handling a gun gets me darn close to a panic attack.

The flip side to this is that every publicized school shooting was perpetrated by students who were playing violent video games. In essence, not every gamer is a school shooter, but so far every school shooter was a gamer. Is that enough to take it to congress? I don't think so. Again, Halo has sold how many millions of copies? There were plenty of other factors that went into the psychology of the school shooters, but the people in congress have looked at the lowest common denominator between these people, and that's the violent games. Should they be banned for that? of course not! but I do think that it is a point worth exploring and perhaps finding a means of strengthening the disconnect between games and reality; for some people that can get blurry.

Re:I see both sides (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26561371)

The flip side to this is that every publicized school shooting was perpetrated by students who were playing violent video games

Please cite an example of a non-Amish male teen that has never played a violent video game

It's not that the crazy ones play violent video games. All young males these days play video games, and the majority of them include violence

(Females being far less likely to 1) play video games or 2) shoot up a school. Maybe we need to ban young males from schools.)

Re:I see both sides (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26562291)

The flip side to this is that every publicized school shooting was perpetrated by students who were playing violent video games.

Every school shooter watched T.V. too, why aren't we blaming that? This is a tiresome witchhunt that hasn't long to live; just give my generation another 10 years or so to replace the baby boomers that have gone quite stale at last.

psychopaths prone to attraction to violence? (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26561833)

In my opinion, thanks for asking, psychopaths are attracted to violent entertainment, because it is violent and they are psychopaths. For others (normal-ish people) the violence isn't real (because it is a game, after all) and it is fun. Your over or underweight gaming fanatic probably plays vastly more of this stuff than anyone else and killing large swaths of people at school would cut into his gaming time.

bullying (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565519)

Seek the link between bullying and school shootings. It won't be hard to find.

As a casual observer I see that a character named Rocky was the bane of the Trench Coat Mafia. Doubtlessly there were other influences for Klebold and Harris, but those influences are accounted for in a larger bullying dynamic.

Its about effeciency (1)

Arrakis Dv8r (1448299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566405)

I recall reading somewhere that it wasn't necessarily the games that made people go postal, the concern was that video games can certainly make you more efficient at it.

Don't Linch Me (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26566601)

(In my apparent desire to be burned at the stake by all other Slashdoters, I would like to make a contradictory statement. It's short, I promise.)

School shootings are the manifestation of some sort of breakdown among a few people because we have a culture of violence. Video games are, without a doubt, part of that culture.

Politicians demonize violent video games and then go attend the latest military parade.

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